CA Connections to war in Ukraine


Photo by Алесь Усцінаў via pexels

In February 2022, Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, starting a war that currently continues despite an outcry from the international community. Joshua Riano, Freshman at Collegedale Academy, has a unique connection to the war. His sister, Vlada Galan, has founded the International Ukrainian Crisis Fund to assist Ukrainian refugees. As a guest writer, Joshua explains his sister’s journey to starting this humanitarian campaign.

Vlada Galan, my sister, was born in Odesa, Ukraine, in 1988. Our mother, Anjelika Riano, was born in Odesa, Ukraine, in 1969. Anjelika had lived in Ukraine for 26 years, while Vlada lived there for 7 & 1/2 years. Both witnessed the fall of the USSR in 1991, and the independence of Ukraine, also in 1991. But soon enough, both immigrated to America for a better life, arrived in California, and later moved to live a new life in Collegedale, Tennessee. Vlada and her mother were not wealthy when they arrived in the United States; she and her mother worked hard to afford a better living and had to start from the bottom up. Though she was in a new environment, Vlada worked hard and got full tuition to A.W. Spalding, now known as Collegedale Academy Elementary. Her motivation did not die, and she worked hard to get into Harvard and proceeded to graduate. Vlada has become a very successful woman who works as an International Political Consultant. Her friends and family love her very much and support her. 

In recent light, our family, especially Vlada, was devastated when we heard the recent news that war broke out again in Ukraine. Communication with our family and friends can be minimal during these times of distress. Many of our family members still reside in Ukraine, and we pray that they are safe every day. Most citizens who stay behind need supplies like food and water. These are necessities that all humans need to survive. Vlada was motivated to help since she was unable to fight physically. Eventually, she came up with an idea. She decided to work with her friends, high officials in America and Ukraine, including Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, and came up with the International Ukrainian Crisis Fund.

This war affected so many people other than ourselves. Breathing, human beings are being forced out of their homes, having atrocities committed against them, and everything they’ve known is under attack. Many Ukrainian Refugees don’t know where to find affordable housing in their new environments. Many are in different countries that do not speak the same language. These Ukrainian Refugees have to adapt to a diverse society/culture that is new to their own. It’s a sorrowful and harsh way of living for those who have escaped. However, Vlada’s International Ukrainian Crisis Fund brings light into the darkness. It’s giving citizens still in Ukraine necessities to thrive, providing hope that they can still survive. The fund offers mainly food, medical aid, evacuation transportation, and protective armor for soldiers\civilians. The fund has also provided money for Refugees in new countries that have little to nothing for clothing, food, or housing. To help with the fight, the fund has an instagram account that is linked below: 

@ukr_crisisfund and their own website